Teenage canoeists rescued from Strangford Lough near Killyleagh

Strangford Lough near Killyleagh Harbour The canoeists got into difficulty in Strangford Lough near Killyleagh

Seven canoeists have been rescued after getting into difficulties in the water off Killyleagh harbour in Strangford Lough.

Emergency services were alerted just after midday on Saturday.

Portaferry Lifeboat and two Coastguard teams - one from Bangor and the other from Portaferry - were sent to help the teenage canoeists.

They were brought ashore safely where ambulance crews were waiting to check them.

Judith McNeice from Bangor Coastguard said the alarm was raised by a member of the public.

"The vessels and the coastguard teams arrived at the scene and they plucked seven people out of the water and assisted the others out of the party of 14 safely ashore," she said.

Ms McNeice said the canoes had been hit by a wave.

"Although it's a beautiful spring day. It is very windy and the lough was quite rough. They were swamped by a wave and that ended up with their canoes being submerged and hence the people ended up in the water," she said.

"It was very fortunate that members of the public saw what had happened and called and we were able to send assistance immediately.

"We would just say to people to please check the forecast before heading out onto the water and also make sure they have a means of communicating with the emergency services should the need arise."

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